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|Sea otter heroes : the predators that saved an ecosystem|
Author: Newman, Patricia
Marine biologist Brent Hughes discovered a surprising connection between sea otters and sea grass at an estuary in northern California. Follow science in action as Hughes conducts the research that led to this major discovery.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.90
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 187289
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 8.50
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 70116
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor, 2018
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/17)
School Library Journal (01/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 4–7—With their big eyes; soft, furry faces; and playful behavior, sea otters are a favorite marine mammal among kids and teens. Protective measures have stabilized sea otter numbers after the mammals once came close to extinction. Only recently, through the work of marine biologist Brent Hughes, has their role in maintaining ecosystems come to light. The Elkhorn Slough, an inlet of Monterey Bay in Northern California, is a nutrient-polluted estuary fed by the fertilizers and pesticides used in nearby farming. This work chronicles the mystery of why this ecosystem is far healthier than scientists would expect. Using the tools of scientific research, Hughes has discovered that sea otters, the top predators in the food chain, help keep the sea grass algae-free through their feeding habits, which in turn allows the growth of a fish population and preserves a natural barrier to storms. The step-by-step process of ascertaining that the sea otter was responsible for the thriving ecosystem provides a strong example of the value and excitement of primary research. Clear, full-color photographs show how Hughes confirmed his theory. However, this title resembles a picture book, which may deter older readers. VERDICT A very informative selection for environmental studies.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2017 Though the cover of promises photographs of adorable, fluffy-faced otters, this volume packs a substantial amount of scientific detail as well. The main narrative follows marine biologist Brent Hughes and his study of Elkhorn Slough, which grew healthy seagrass while other inlets in similar conditions suffered. Eventually, careful research revealed that it was the presence of sea otters, the local apex predator, that allowed the slough to flourish. In four chapters, Newman details Hughes’ research processes and examines the workings of ecosystems in general and how its inhabitants affect it at every level. Illustrations include not only those irresistible otter photos but also scientific diagrams and photographs of Hughes’ experiments. A final chapter on conservation explains the often-damaging effect humans can have on ecosystems, while back matter includes relevant experiments, extensive secondary resources, and ways in which young people can help the environment on a daily basis. Not just an exploration of one particular discovery in marine biology, this is a comprehensive explanation of the scientific process as well. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.